Abstract - The Information Society 18(2)

Practice-based Design of Information Systems: Notes from the hyper-developed world

Lucy Suchman

What I name here the "hyper-developed" world comprises those places that presently dominate distributions of innovation in new information and communications technologies (ICT), both in terms of prevailing rhetorics and practical resources. This paper draws on experiences in research and development in a large U.S. corporation to question received wisdom about where and how technology innovation happens, and how it might be configured differently. From the settings with which I am familiar, I describe efforts to create an approach to systems development based in an understanding of relevant forms of working practice. A central issue for such a practice-based approach is the question of relations between sites of ICT production and use ­ a question that I argue is relevant for systems development projects wherever they occur. I close with lessons learned from my own experiences that articulate the requirements for innovation in a new way. The aim is to clarify the already existing place of the developing countries in ICT innovation, and to suggest directions that would further de-center the distribution of associated symbolic and material rewards.

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